Tag Archives: haibun

Collateral Damage in CHO 17.1

Collateral Damage
After four or five years, the miracle pill—the “gold standard” of Parkinson’s treatment—loses its sparkle. The drug wears off several times a day, allowing symptoms to reappear or worsen. Unless you increase the dosage, you’ll be staring into the abyss: muscle stiffness, imbalance, weakness, lethargy… And if you increase it?

dyskinesia. . .
how tall grass
sways

In Contemporary Haibun Online 17.1

Beyond Me in CHO 17.1

Beyond Me
There is a point at which thought unravels, where cosmic dust swims on waves our brains are not equipped to comprehend. This is the reason we learn to speak of concrete things caught by the senses – the fragrance of flowers, light and shadow, bird song, the weight of snow. Holding tight to the literal, we learn to survive.

Betelgeuse. . .
on my third cup
of strong coffee

In Contemporary Haibun Online

Lullaby in MacQueens Quinterly

My heartfelt thanks to editor Clare MacQueen for publishing this haibun
in issue 7 of MacQueen’s Quinterly. It had originally appeared in the
Wales Haiku Journal.

Lullaby

It’s at its loudest in the early morning hours. Before light dissolves darkness, before the neighbour leaves for work, before the birds start singing, his laboured breathing comes over the baby monitor whispering, gurgling, rattling, spluttering….

I lie awake listening to the crack of thunder, the roaring waterfall, the sounds of the sea emitted from his chest. A car starting, the exhaust backfiring, the train leaving station. The boat reversing in the harbour. Light rain. A soft meow. His breathing renders a whole world. In this soundscape, I make out the stories he told me when years ago he put me to bed.

Soon, light dispels the apparitions, and his breath comes over the monitor soft, steady, regular, lulling me to sleep.

music of the spheres
how we became
human

Portrait

painting Maria Pierides

A woman reading a letter in the light pouring through an unseen window. Hair pulled back from the forehead, she is pictured in the style of her favorite painter against an expanse of soft yellows. Areas of blue for the shadows, the armchair and her top allude to hidden layers.

camera obscura

the temptation to see

depth

Her upper body is turned towards the light, held by it, trapped by it. Arrested in the moment, her Parkinson’s is invisible. In a minute or two, she’ll have to change position, align her spine, prevent stiffness from setting in.

Amsterdam to Delft…

in their seats now, the old couple

remove their face masks

This is a good day. In the early hours of the morning, she’d lain listening to the woodpecker hammering time. As the hours rolled in, she made fabric out of wool, squeezed poetry out of the daily grind, mailed her loved ones. Read their letters…

lapis lazuli…

shifting attention

to what matters

Portrait, Maria Pierides

This haibun, a collaboration with artist and daughter Maria Pierides, appeared in the project Love in the Time of Covid

here

Maria Pierides’s art is for sale from Saatchi Art and from her website

“So that we remember” wins first place in the MacQueen’s Quinterly Ekphrastic Challenge

Thrilled to have won first place in MacQueen’s Quinterly Ekphrastic Challenge “The Magician”!

A heartfelt thank you to Clare MacQueen for selecting my haibun “So that we remember” and congratulations to all participants in the contest!
Read “So that we remember” here: http://www.macqueensquinterly.com/MacQ3/Pierides-Remember.aspx

For the background to the contest and full results see here: http://www.macqueensquinterly.com/Contests/Magician-Results.aspx

‘Intertextuality’ in What I Hear When Not Listening

I am very pleased to see my haibun diptych ‘Intertextuality,’ originally published in Sonic Boom 4, included in this Anthology! Grateful to editor Shloka Shankar!

Sonic Boom writes:

We are delighted to announce the publication of our second anthology, ‘What I Hear When Not Listening: Best of The Poetry Shack & Fiction, Vol. I.’

Featuring work by 41 contributors to our journal between the years 2014 and 2019, this collection brings together the best pieces that were published under The Poetry Shack and Fiction sections of the journal from issues one through fifteen.

Order your copy here

‘Noir’ in MacQueen’s Quinterly

Issue 2 of MacQueen’s Quinterly is out and I am delighted to have a haibun triptych included! Many thanks to editor Clare MacQueen! Read “Noir” here and below:

Noir [A Triptych]

Snow white

A small room, white walls, white lino floor. Sheets like snow. Her deep breathing. Hair the color of frost. Beads of sweat on her forehead, in the folds of her neck. She is dreaming.

crow’s call
a night unlike
any other

and her life

A small room. Unmade bed, a chair toppled over. Two plastic cups on the floor. Walls of indistinct colour. The Book of Sand open at the foot of the bed.

no one here
lives like a princess—
mushy peas for tea

as it might have been

A room 5’x5′. No curtains. Aretha Franklin’s “I say a Little Prayer” from the room next door. Birds. On the pavement outside her window, fag ends and chewing gum.

diaphanous—
lives of others in frequencies
I can hear

‘Homewards’ in KYSO Flash 12

Honoured to have my haibun “Homewards” included in “White Blossoms”
[An e-Collection of Photographs and Words] by Susan Tekulve in KYSO Flash 12!
{scroll down the page to “Magnolia blossoms and red clay”}

Many thanks to editor Clare MacQueen!

“White Blossoms:” “In addition to photographs and lyrical prose by essayist and novelist Susan Tekulve, this collection contains prosimetra by authors such as Rick Mulkey, Stella Pierides, Brenda Sutton Rose, and Carl Sandburg, among others.”

Magnolia
Magnolia Exmouth

‘Solace’ in Open: Journal of Arts and Letters

“Three Vertical Landscapes” by Wiiliam Tillyer

Solace (Triptych)

In a dark wood . . .

Heaving streets, bulging with holiday shoppers. Shop windows in garish colours blink their version of hell. As soon as I get the present I came for, I head for home.

Running for the bus, I bump into someone, or he bumps into me. The double-decker reeks of wet clothes. A young woman, clutching her baby close to her chest, is arguing with the bus driver who refuses to let her on without a ticket.

We stay put for a good thirty minutes, until a passenger, with a shaking hand, taps his debit card on the card reader and pays the fare for her.

the baby babbles . . .
raindrops on
the bus window

and without props

It hasn’t rained for weeks. The two workmen in my back garden, digging the foundations for a cat enclosure, sound industrious. There is a young apple tree standing right in the middle of it, and I have instructed them to shorten its branches so that it can be contained within the structure. I imagine my two cats spending happy hours climbing it, perching on its branches. But when I look outside, I see the tree is missing. I am told it was taking too much space and they decided to remove it for me, at no extra cost.

short shrift
the town crier’s
hoarse voice

against freezing

I own five hot water bottles. As you might have guessed, I feel the cold more than others. When I place these hot, felt-wrapped receptacles on my coldest parts, I experience the bliss others must take for granted.

clang of a spade
I imagine the workmen
striking gold

In Open: Journal of Arts and Letters, 25 Feb 2019 h

and check out the whole journal: a rich and rewarding read!

‘Seriously’ in Open: Journal of Arts and Letters

“Spitalfield” by William Tillyer

The shelves in the beauty aisle are piled high with hand creams. Tubes, jars, bottles, tins of brands I never knew existed. So many! I stand here for a while, wondering whether this abundance could be attributed to the forthcoming Brexit. After all, all sorts of strange events in the last couple of years have been attributed to it. I imagine that both remainers and leavers would need a cream to soothe their hands after clapping for one or the other speaker; after rubbing their eyes in disbelief on reading the daily news or covering their ears for hours in the gesture perfectly captured by Munch’s “The Scream.” Could this be it?

late winter
the street dog’s sad
whimper

In Open: Journal of Arts and Letters, 25 Feb 2019, Mixed forms: Haibun

‘Absences’ in Unbroken Journal

cemetery

The ossuary, a white-washed, rectangular building, is dark and cool. A musty smell envelops me as I enter. I am searching for the metal box containing my mother’s bones.

I’ve been told she is confined to one on the shelves that run the length of the room. I start searching methodically. Each box has a small hand-written label with the deceased’s name on its front. Several labels are blank. One has a dried daisy flower stuck on it with Sellotape; another, a star in cross stitch; yet another, a tiny motorcycle sticker. Photographs of the dead looking youthful are taped to several boxes, or placed next to them, complicating identification of the containers’ occupants.

Disheartened, I leave the grim building to walk in the dappled shade of the graveyard. The hum of the city mixes with birdsong. So many years since I was in Athens. I stop to read the names of the deceased on headstones, marvel at the stone angels, at the oil lamps. Soon my head is swimming. A woman burning sweet-smelling incense over a grave turns to look at me. I quickly look away, but then, returning her gaze, I nod and she smiles.

noon heat
a hairline crack
in the angel’s wing

In Unbroken Journal, issue 20, 2019

Haibun Triptych

Reality Bites

In my teens I spent school holidays in the local library. From opening to closing time, the library was my home. In the sizzling Athenian summers, it was the only cool place to be. The silence in the reading room felt like a blessing. Sitting at my desk I listened. A page turned. Someone shifted in their chair. Someone sighed. Silence again. I revelled in the sounds of human presence in this magic emptiness. A paradise. Except one day, when a cicada started singing. Having found its way in, it perched on Borges’s “The Book of Sand.” Heads turned. There was a commotion. A reader screamed, “Get this thing out of here!” The librarian, arm raised, raced to the shelf to swat the culprit, but the insect was no longer there.

turning the page
I come across the truth …
midsummer darkness

And yet

The road twists and turns for miles ahead. The refugee caravan moves haltingly forward. Mothers carrying their babies; dazed children, old people, the young, all stagger towards a safer future. Crossing the Red Sea, walking through deserts, wading across the Suchiate River, the caravan camps at Calais, rests for a night on Lesvos, repopulates the Sicilian city of Sutera, rows across river Evros. Razor wire carves memories on children’s skin. A voice over the megaphone: “Achtung, Achtung!” Babies are born, grow teeth, learn to speak. It rains, it snows, it shines. New words enter dictionaries. Poems emerge from sleeping bags.

each spring
breaking through the soil . . .
the human heart

We carry on

We turn out the lights, fall asleep and emerge head first into the real world. Belief, disbelief, nuance, knowledge; science, art, even poetry we leave behind. We enter this eternal world without walls, where we have control over nothing, yet we are nothing less than the seed of the cosmos. Here is our true home: fluid, quiet, boundless.

In the morning, once the alarm clock’s trill drags us back into consciousness, we dress in soft flesh, teeth and nails, and catch the bus to work.

oak leaves …
planning to live past
one hundred

boat,

In Blue Fifth Review, The Blue Collection 9: Home

Image: ‘Boat’ by Maria Pierides

Haibun Triptych in Blue Fifth Review: The Blue Collection 9

Grateful thanks to Michelle Elvy and Sam Rasnake for publishing my Haibun Triptych in the special issue “The blue collection 9: Home” of the phenomenal Blue Fifth Review!
Photo magic “Boat” by Maria Pierides accompanies the triptych.
Check it out:
Blue Fifth Review … the blue collection: 9: home (Winter 2018 / 18.10)

Boat,Haibun Triptych "Home"

‘Boundaries’ in Blithe Spirit

The main course is boiled beef with green beans, mushrooms, and sautee potatoes. A typical dish in this part of the world. What is atypical is the sauce that accompanies it. Unlike the horseradish recipes that make your nostrils flare, this delicate sauce introduces a surprisingly mature interpretation that sings to rather than stings the palate. My neighbour has chosen condiments that balance the flavours to perfection. I can feel the character of the well-tempered sauce on my tongue. No excess. No diversions. Clear limits. Boundaries.

noticing
the rose after the rain starts –
petrichor

In Blithe Spirit 28.3, 2018

Review of ‘Of This World’ in Frogpond (41.3)

Delighted and honoured to read Vanessa Proctor’s generous and thoughtful review of my book, published in Frogpond 41.3, Fall 2018, p. 139), the journal of the Haiku Society of America! Please read PDF by clicking the link below…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… sp-frogpond-rev ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………….Available from Red Moon Press and Amazon
Of This World, Pierides,haibun,

‘Of This World’ HSA Award, Judges’ Comments

So pleased to have received an Honourable Mention in the Haiku Society of America’s Merit Book Awards! I announced the news earlier this year here. The Judges’ comments appeared in the latest issue of Frogpond, the Society’s Journal (41.3, Fall 2018, p. 119). 
This is what they say:

In this fine haibun collection, Pierides addresses a wide variety of subject matter as she moves fluidly between tones—-philosophical, heart-wrenching, ironic, humorous. Some of the prose is conventional and some highly experimental; likewise the haiku (a frog jumps in / intertextuality / for beginners). No matter how short or light-hearted, none of the pieces feel slight, and the variety is delightful.

Many thanks to Judges Melissa Allen and Brad Bennett!

Of This World,haibun,

Available from Red Moon Press and Amazon.

‘Of This World,’ receives HSA Merit Book Award (books published 2017)

Delighted to announce that my book Of This World (Red Moon Press) was awarded a merit book honorable mention in the Haibun category by the Haiku Society of America! 

HSA Merit Books Award

Heartfelt thanks to Michelle Elvy, Jim Kacian, Clare MacQueen and Johannes S. H. Bjerg for their help and support with bringing this book to life.

While waiting for the judges comments and public announcement by the Society, here is more information and praise for the book:

Of This World

Stella Pierides has cultivated a terse, idiosyncratic style in her haibun that is instantly recognizable, and as a consequence is one of the shining lights of this burgeoning genre. Of This World certainly is, but it also takes us out of the world at large and into private spaces we feel privileged to witness. A unique and satisfying read.

 

Red Moon Press
Amazon Europe
Amazon UK

I am grateful for the generous comments:

This is how it’s done! Stella Pierides — in a hushed voice — takes me through what it is to be human — and part of the human history from the roots of Western culture in Diogenes’ tub to the ‘modern’ human — with all the questions and doubts, the uncertainties that come from that.

— Johannes S. H. Bjerg, Writer

Of This World’s marvelous, emotionally resonant haibun are steeped in the grace of the garden, rooted in a physical reality so sensuous that you can smell the fragrance of baking bread, of olives and garlic, of lemon and magnolia blossoms — and yet they also spiral on the updraft of metaphor as poet Stella Pierides ‘put[s] our hearts in the shoes of the hummingbird.’

— Clare MacQueen, Editor-in-Chief, KYSO Flash

A treasure trove of language and image. Pierides walks through dark streets of history, through alleyways of memory – emerging in shiny, unexpected places. Compact, urgent and closely observant, these minute offerings will captivate readers of both poetry and short fiction. An enormously engaging collection.

— Michelle Elvy, Writer and Editor

*
Of This World
ISBN: 978-1-936848-80-5
Pages: 124
Size: 6″ x 9″
Binding: perfect softbound

‘In Good Company’ in Frogpond 41:1

Frogpond JournalI am filling out the form with a trembling hand. I am gripping the pen a bit harder than usual and the letters look tense and angular. Why? I am opting out of organ donation. As simple as that. I am not donating my eyes to anyone. And when it comes to my heart, I want to have a say in who receives it.

 

 

late autumn—

aboard the last boat

home

*

Frogpond 41:1

#The100DayProject

Having read Dorothee Lang’s blog post on the #The100DayProject, I am tempted to take part. I will have to choose a theme and create something daily, for 100 days on it, posting the result on Instagram.

#The100DayProject, #100daysnewthingsA  couple of problems: I didn’t want to join yet another social media channel, and have only a few days to find a theme to focus on for the project starting on the 3 of April. And how could I possibly find the time? For these reasons, and many more, I decided to . . . give it a go.

I am settling on 100 days of finding new, to me, things. Of opening up to new ideas, other ways of thinking, other people; expanding my horizons! And I’ve just signed up on #Instagram. I will be using my iPad to post. Daily hashtags: #The100DayProject #100daysnewthings #poetsofinstagram

Each day, I’ll be searching for, finding and posting something new to me. It may not be new to you, but to me, it may be an epiphany. ‘It’ may be an interesting quotation, a piece of information, a discovery or re-discovery, a haiku or other poem or text I discover in me, a photo of something I hadn’t noticed before…you get the gist.

Thank you Dorothee for the inspiration and encouragement!

‘Lullaby’ in Wales Haiku Journal

It’s at its loudest in the early morning hours. Before light dissolves darkness, before the neighbour leaves for work, before the birds start singing, his laboured breathing comes over the baby monitor whispering, gurgling, rattling, spluttering…

I lie awake listening to the crack of thunder, the roaring waterfall, the sounds of the sea emitted from his chest. A car starting, the exhaust backfiring, the train leaving station. The boat reversing in the harbour. Light rain. A soft mieow. His breathing renders a whole world. In this soundscape, I make out the stories he told me when years ago he put me to bed.

Soon, light dispels the apparitions, and his breath comes over the monitor soft, steady, regular, lulling me to sleep.

music of the spheres
how we became
human

*

In the inaugural issue of Wales Haiku Journal, Spring 2018

The British Haiku Society Awards 2017

Congratulations to the winners! The results of the British Haiku Society Awards 2017 are out!

British Haiku Society

I am honoured to have been asked to serve as a judge in the ‘Ken and Noragh Jones Haibun Awards.’ And very much enjoyed reading all the wonderful  entries.

The results and reports by all sections’ judges  can be viewed at the Society’s website (for haibun, please scroll down), and will also be published in Blithe Spirit, the Society’s Journal.

A big thank you to the Society for entrusting me with this task, and to all those who sent in their entries.

A Walk Through the Cypress Grove

We die alone. We disembark on the Isle of the Dead with our heads filled with illusions. Vague memories of loves and hurts, envy and resentments. Perhaps holding hands with those who still can bear us, but alone with our regrets. Turning around for a last look, our eyes, swimming with sadness, rest on the ramshackle boats we leave behind.

white light beyond the crucible

*

In Modern Haiku, 49:1, 2018

snow,haibun,

The Surface of Things

haibun On its 50th anniversary, the Museum received a gift towards establishing a Collection of Lost Words. The three curators entrusted with this project, feeling an overwhelming sense of responsibility and apprehension, set about their work immediately. At their first meeting, the youngest of the three suggested they might place an ad in the national press, or even tweet about it asking for submissions. The oldest suggested they go on a retreat together with hand-picked etymologists, philosophers, and linguists, in other words experts, to brain-storm. The woman on the team suggested they search online catalogues for words no longer in use. Words written on tablets and papyri, words from extinct languages. For weeks they discussed the relationship between words and the worlds they described; words and the worlds they gave rise to. Forbidden words, or overused words that lost their meaning. As a result of intense deliberations, a special linguistic search engine was built capable of scouring for lost words. It didn’t take long for results to start coming in. The first word to be returned was ‘love’.

cracked earth
last year’s seedling
yet to sprout

Frogpond 40:3,  p.63, 2017

‘End Note’ in Haibun Today

Haibun Today The handwritten letter is long, the paper creased, stained. The stamps on the envelope, though, are glued perfectly straight, indicating help with the posting. It takes me time to decipher the spidery handwriting infested with blank spaces, as if the sender had taken breaks in between. I stumble repeatedly, especially after the first couple of sentences, when the handwriting grows smaller.

What are you trying to say, I want to ask him. Why didn’t you phone me? I reach for the phone, then stop myself. He wanted me to read this letter. I take off my glasses and bring the paper close to my face. I see better now, and I can smell the paper. A sweet fragrance mixed with acetone.

day lilies
at the hospice . . .
wilting

In Twos

Gnarled Oak, Haibun, Her glasses are on the night table. Propped up on two cushions, she is asleep, her mouth half-open, a bubble of saliva shifting on her lip with every breath. The ceiling fan purrs. A quiet room, otherwise. Tiptoeing near her bed I see a tiny fly approach her face. As if sensing it, she raises her arm, brushing against her forehead. I stop breathing. But she continues in her sleep, as if she is on a journey and this moment that just passed was but a momentary stop, a blip, a slight distraction.

no one
in the mirror
night of ghosts

*

In Gnarled Oak 30 November 2017